The 2012 selections of Home Channel News Hardware Store All-Stars marks the second year of the state-by-state accounting of high-performance retailers. The common theme of “excellent customer service” runs through the entire list, but that’s just the beginning.
The list of Hardware Store All-Stars, one from each of the 50 U.S. states, continues with Illinois, Indiana and Iowa:
Fuller’s Home & Hardware
An historic two-story building -- think brick walls, wooden floors and slate roofs -- on the main street of Hinsdale presents a classic Ace hardware offering on the main floor, and a self-described “hardware store for cooks & more” in the store’s upscale, bordering on museum-quality housewares store called “The Second Floor.” At Fuller’s, cookware is in. But any cookie-cutter approach is out.
Owner Randall Jones has ridden an idea that turned his small town hardware store into a big-time supplier. Aggressively courting commercial customers with a cost-plus pricing plan. Customers range from a Wal-Mart distribution center, the local DePauw University and homeowners. Jones says none is more important than the other. In a town of 10,000, Headley ranked second among all Do it Best members in sales of Valspar paint products in 2011.
Akin Building Center
From its roots as a lumberyard, the rural, four-location hardware and LBM supplier has been going through significant renovations in the past four years -- three remodel projects plus the conversion of an empty Kmart into a hardware store. “We’re working on a female-friendly type shopping environment,” said Scott Akin, third-generation owner of the Do it Best dealer. “We’re always upgrading our stores.” Among the keys to success: “Bright stores, colorful walls.”